This might sound odd, but have you tried Googling yourself? What are the results – do they accurately reflect the kind of person you are? Imagine someone who’s never met you before running the same search – is it likely to affect their opinion of you? Well, if you were a business, that’s exactly what potential customers would do. Chris Anderson, the head of TED, says it best:
“Your brand isn’t what you say it is – it’s what Google says it is”
The modern-day consumer looks for social proofing; they want to hear from others before they consider purchasing. Last year, 87 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Moreover, if they like what they see, then it shows at check-out, with customers more likely to spend 31 per cent more on a business with excellent reviews. In business-speak, customer reviews are often packaged up into the term ‘feedback marketing’. They are an incredibly powerful tool to have in your kit. So, let’s unpack it here and find out why feedback marketing could become a gravy train for your IBD.

What is feedback marketing?

Feedback marketing is the term used for businesses that proactively seek customer opinions or reviews. By sharing insights (either through a numbering/ star grading system, written responses or a combination of both), buyers give sellers a clear idea of their customer performance and the quality of their product. The feedback may be for the seller’s eyes only (responding to a direct email), or it could be published for all to see (responding to an invite to leave a public review).

Why is feedback marketing so important for IBDs?

Customer feedback helps your business performance

Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, you want to know what your customers think of you and your products. Positive feedback, of course, means you’re on the right track, but problematic or negative feedback is an opportunity for you to identify and fix something before it snowballs. And as every great customer service rep will tell you, there’s always an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive!

Customer feedback shows your customers that you care

Trust is vital in the buyer-seller relationship. A great way to help build that trust and encourage repeat purchase is by showing the customer you genuinely care about their opinion. You want to hear what they have to say about their experience and the product they have purchased. In doing so, you show not only that you care but that you very much value them and their custom.

Customer feedback provides your store with valuable data

Data helps inform key decision making, and you can mine it in many ways. That said, you then have to interpret it, and that’s where things can sometimes go pear-shaped. Customer feedback, however, typically gives you raw data at face value. There’s no misinterpreting that customer Sally thinks your sales assistant Lucy was incredibly helpful or that customer John thinks your in-store choice of music needs some attention. There it is, their opinion plain as day and available for you to then start making some decisions (maybe Lucy has some good playlists?).

Customer feedback influences others

We saw the stats earlier on; reviews influence others. Even without the numbers, it makes logical sense, doesn’t it? It’s the old-fashioned grapevine or word-of-mouth amplified for modern times. Who is going to part with hundreds of euros online with IBD X if unhappy customer Fred just yesterday posted a lukewarm review about how long he had to wait for his order to arrive?

How do you get feedback from customers?

The good news is that there are plenty of options! They include:

Encourage feedback at the point of ordering

Consider requesting feedback immediately after the customer has made a purchase. This is a great time to get their fresh insights into wayfinding on the website, level of information and images, etc.

Triggered email requests

For instance, if you’re using email database software like Klaviyo or Mailchimp, you can avail of automatically triggered email requests for review. These are available in templates and are very easy to set up, enabling you to dictate how soon to prompt the customer, how to ask for the review, and where they can leave it.

Link to a survey

Many buyers like to encourage customers to complete an online survey and go in the running to win a prize. Consider options like SurveyMonkey.

Use social media

Conduct a poll on social media or use Instagram Stories to collect feedback.

What questions can you ask customers?

It ultimately depends at what stage in the buying funnel you plan to reach out. However, these questions will usually offer some meaningful feedback:
  • How did you find our website? (e.g. Google, a friend, an advertisement)
  • Did you come to our site looking for a specific product, were you not sure what you were after, or were you just browsing?
  • Would you like to see anything else on our site?
  • Are you satisfied with the level of information you received about the product?
  • Did you find it easy to navigate around the website?
  • Is there anything about our site or service that you found particularly impressive?
  • Would you like to suggest any ways we can improve our site or our service?

How to handle negative feedback

There’s no denying that some people are far more likely to leave negative feedback than they are positive. This can be especially disheartening when you know there are two sides to a story, and they’ve taken their grievance public. Take the upper road, always. No matter how irate or unreasonable this customer may be, always maintain a professional and courteous manner.
  • Put yourself in their shoes first of all, as this can give the situation a whole new perspective.
  • Thank them for taking the time to review.
  • Express your regret to read they have not been 100% delighted like the majority of your customers.
  • If there is a need to defend yourself or your staff, do so very succinctly, without emotion, disrespect or patronising tone. Be sure not to look like you are out to prove them wrong.
  • Offer to reach out to them in person over the phone to rectify the matter.
  • Aim to resolve the matter quickly – don’t let the customer brew.

Don’t forget to respond to all feedback

Obviously, negative feedback is something you want to manage immediately. However, it’s a good idea to respond to all feedback as quickly as possible. A prompt response shows customers your appreciation; it also shows potential buyers that you will value and respect their custom. If you can, take the time to personalise every message. For example, rather than a quick “thanks, Sally!” go for something that shows just how good you are:
“Sally, we’re delighted to help make your winter commute to work safer with those great new lights. So enjoy those fresher starts now, and we welcome you back here any time!”
When it comes to feedback marketing, BikeExchange enjoys excellent customer reviews time after time. In the last 11 years, our platform has achieved worldwide respect amongst the cycling community. A presence on our marketplace is an opportunity to leverage our credibility and trustworthiness for your own business. We’re also full of feedback marketing ideas! So why not contact us today and see how we can help get you a first-class ticket on that gravy train!